Survival and growth of Enterobacter sakazakii in infant cereals as affected by water activity, temperature, and reconstitution liquid
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Enterobacter sakazakii infections in infants and children up to four years of age have been associated with consumption of infant formulas. The pathogen has been isolated from infant cereal and a cereal factory. Survival and growth characteristics of E. sakazakii in infant cereals as affected by aw, storage temperature, reconstitution liquid, and the composition of cereal were determined. Results show that E. sakazakii can survive in rice cereal (initial aw 0.30 - 0.69) at populations as low as 2 CFU/g for at least 12 months. The rate of decrease of E. sakazakii in dry cereals was correlated with increases in aw and storage temperature. Growth occurred in cereals reconstituted with water or milk at 12, 21, and 30°C and in cereals reconstituted with apple juice at 21 and 30°C. The composition of cereals did not significantly affect the survival of E. sakazakii in dried cereals or growth in reconstituted cereals.